Neezy gets on my nerves more than the rest, because he’s just like me

I have been meaning to write about my 6 year-old for a while now. I look at him and I see myself. What is it about this that makes me so angry about this. I have two other children, both girls, one 3 the other 8. They do not make me angry in the way that my son does. I take that back, RAT, my 8 year-old can make me plenty angry. But it takes longer. And since she was evaluated for ADHD my tolerance for her sheer and utter relentlessness has increased. But with NAT it seems to be going in the opposite direction.

What appears to be cute and playful is really just a little helion version of me

What appears to be cute and playful is really just a little helion version of me

My partner thinks the two are related. On the one hand it can’t be easy to have RAT as a sister (she pushed him down the front steps the other morning, he didn’t hit his head, but it was close) and on the other hand it doesn’t help that he makes things worse by being so irritating.

There, I said it, he is irritating. Not always, of course. In fact he is wonderful to be with when you are one on one. He is in the process of discovering that he is Canadian (He was born in Sweden, but we are living in Kyiv, Ukraine. His first language is Swedish, although I have always spoke English with him. But now his best friend is from Cah…na…da. As a Californian I can’t even pronounce it the way that he and his friend do.) His personality and interests have doubled in the last year. He is growing like a weed on a spring day. All this is great, wonderful actually. But there is a back side to
this development.
He doesn’t take criticism well. (Who does, for that matter, this is a stupid point) Okay, he doesn’t respond to anger, he just gets more crazy. (This is good, ’cause in the long run I should learn how to deal with his moods, instead of just getting angry.) He does what he wants, when he wants to do it, but doesn’t want to do it himself, he wants me to do what he wants for him. He is an emotional roller-coaster, a 12 year old in a six year old’s body. And all this comes back to his sister as well. She has been the center of the family since her birth and NAT was born to exist on that periphery. And maybe that just doesn’t suit him so well. Good on him, because I as parent have to see and respect that. Hope I can…

Advertisements

Who Does What In A Healthy Co-Parenting Relationship? Obviously, She Still Does The Cooking and Cleaning, Right?

Approaches to survival and the ability to endure are determined by the realities that each of us face. – PapaGoob (January 25, 2013)

In my case, I had my first child when I was 23. She was conceived when my partner and I were living in a third country (she legally, I illegally). We then moved to her home country, Sweden, but not to her home town. In the following 8 years we had two more children, moved 4 times, I completed one education, then another. And now we are living in Kyiv, Ukraine, as diplomats and untouchables (not in the Indian “untouchable”-sense, but in the above-the-law-sense, I can literally do whatever I want without fear of reprisal or punishment).

Ah... the good old days when there was no "co-parenting" there were clearly defined roles.  Yes, I will have another gin and tonic dear, please put cherry 7up in it, just how I like it!

Ah… the good old days when there was no “co-parenting” there were clearly defined roles. Yes, I will have another gin and tonic dear, please put cherry 7up in it, just how I like it!

These details are not interesting to me (I know that some people think the details of their lives are interesting to themselves, but I am not one of them. Or maybe I am, I do like talking about myself when I have an audience or I don’t know what else to say. But then I always feel guilty afterward. This is my partners fault. She thinks I am a typical loud American male who doesn’t let anyone else get a word in edgewise. I think I am just jovial in certain situations. I digress).

The details are, however, the essence of a life and determine the prerequisites to my relationship to my children. That I was born in California and my wife was born in Western Sweden is also important. We, my partner and I, are the product of two very different parental philosophies. This despite the similarities between my upper-middle class Californian background and her middle class Swedish background.

Yet even if we had grown up in the same town, at the same time, and in the same socio-economic class, my partner and I would still be very different parents.

A generation ago, or maybe two, (or maybe even this is a reality to others of my own generation) this would not be a problem. The women were in charge of the home (including children) and the men were in charge of everything else (excluding children). But now we are all in charge of everything (and sometimes in our rush to have a career too, we let the childcare worker become the most important parent – but that’s another post) and that isn’t without its difficulties. In the end, it is the kids that win the most out of this experiment. I believe my children will have a better chance of being loving, happy, gentle and good adults if I play a positive, active, and equal parenting role, together with my partner. Despite the fact that this is significantly easier with a monarchy rather than a democracy, at home at least. These are my prerequisites and the stuff that my children’s future therapist will pay for their own children’s college education.

Tempo is like, real important… According to Goob, World’s #2 Dad (and my brother)

Tempo. It’s what I am looking for when I am with my kids. It’s not about hurrying, or stressing. That just makes things worse. It’s about moving things along smoothly. Anyone who has worked as a waiter can understand this. If things move too slowly, the plates stack up in the kitchen or tables get irritated waiting. If things move too quickly, no one has a chance to digest or the food fails to be plated properly. No good.

The same goes for solo parenting. Tempo is important when you are co-parenting as well, but not as important. If things slow down, one of you can pick up the slack. If things go too fast, then your partner can shift gears if need be, slowing things down. That’s harder when you are on your own.

Tempo is unfortunately about preparation. You need a plan. I think this used to be called routines. “Children like routines” I’ve heard it said. Really? Who likes routine? Well I do, but that’s because I am anal. But I would prefer not to pass that along to my children.

No, not routine, tempo. First one thing, then the next, then the next, moving smoothly along. It’s not about time, its about feeling. Routines are about time. At this time we do this, at this time we do that. That can be problematic with children under 10. Never know when they might start playing nicely. Don’t want to break that up because of routine. (Maybe I can find 20 minutes to read my book and drink a cup of coffee…)

Tempo is about overlapping occurrences that lead to group harmony. Food preparation that can be done when pictures are drawn. Then the table is to be set, so everyone should wash their hands. Maybe a short TV session while the dishes are being done, then it’s outside and the park. Maybe do the shopping while the kids play with the neighbors. You get the point. Tempo.

Q-tips are great for tempo, just don’t let them be put back in the box

The biggest downside to tempo is that it is exhausting. Who wants to be so planned-out all of the time? I don’t have the stamina to do it every day that the kids are home. Nor would I really want to for that matter.

Going to try to contribute to WBD as often as I can, just to make sure that kungfoolery gets some competition for the title of World’s Best Daddy…